Mobile Networks in Andaman: One of the main concerns while vacationing at a remote location is losing your connectivity. We live in a world where we are connected with each other via technology. Most of us cannot imagine our lives without our smart phone. The constant beeps from Whatsapp, the messages and push notifications from apps ensure we are glued to the device for hours during a day.
In a way, we take a vacation to break away from this monotony – to stop connecting with the outside world and start connecting with ourselves and the people we love. Connecting emotionally by physically being around them, spending time walking on a white sand beach and watching the sunset together. For that, not having a mobile network sometimes works to our advantage in many places in Andaman.
But not having the network also leads to a slightly worrisome thought of ‘What if’. What if you are in some kind of an emergency and need to call or message someone. What if someone you know wants to reach out to you?
So, before you head to the Andaman Islands, it is important to know which mobile networks in Andaman work well around the islands. Do keep in mind that these networks are primarily suggested from a calling service point of view. The islands don’t have proper 3G or 4G connectivity. The following comes from our own experience of living in the islands and the feedback we’ve collected from our guests over a period of time
BSNL, Airtel and Vodafone are the three main mobile networks in Andaman. Others like Aircel, Idea or Reliance / Jio don’t have much of a network (as of now).
When you are in Port Blair, any of the three networks tend to do the job 0 i.e. help you remain connected. Overall, Vodafone seems to have garnered more positive reviews than the others. When outside Port Blair and traveling to one of the islands, BSNL seems to work better than the other mobile networks in Andaman
Even then, several of the islands and popular beaches will leave you bereft of any mobile networks in Andaman
We think it is good and bad in a way – good because you get to get off the impulse of instantly sharing everything on Facebook and Whatsapp and instead get to take in the sights. Bad because you may not be able stay updated.
Here’s the more important part – How can you work around the mobile network problem in Andaman? After all, a few sticks of phone signals cannot stand between you and the island paradise. So here you go
1. First and the foremost, choose a trusted local tour operator for your travel. They’ll know your itinerary, whereabouts and even have guides in certain places who’ll be able to help you out in case you have the requirement
2. Keep a physical copy of your hotel, itinerary and important local numbers with you at all times.
3. Use the offline version of Google Maps effectively. Before you visit the islands, download the maps of the areas you plan to visit. Downloading areas of a map may take up to 175MB and it can happen over wi-fi too. Free some space on your phone if necessary to complete this task. This way, you may just be able to find your bearings around the islands even without a network. Otherwise, the good ol’ physical map is also available.
4. Read up as much as possible about the places you are going to visit. What are the popular routes to get in and out of them? Where are the nearest resorts and hotels? If you are choosing to visit places that are entirely off the grid, find out routes before you go.
5. Keep your phone fully charged before you step out of your hotel. Some trips go on right from morning until night so you’ll need your phone all day. Carry a power bank with you, just in case.
6. In case of an unexpected shift in weather, get in touch with your local contact as soon as you can and follow instructions given by authorities.
The area of communication when there is no network or limited power is an open opportunity and a few startups are already beginning to develop devices that can help you in such a situation. See them here.
Get connected to a local tour operator in Andaman for a happy and safe trip.